Estimated native speakers: 470 million
Estimated total speakers: 570 million
Official/de facto official language in: Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay, Equatorial Guinea
Language family: Indo-European, West-Iberian
A brief history:
The melodic Spanish language, known as español or castellano, is the second most spoken language in the world – an excellent reason to learn Spanish! Brought to the Iberian peninsula by Roman foot soldiers, Spanish evolved from vulgar Latin, a term which in no way does justice to this beautiful language! Linguists will also note the strong Arabic influence, which carried over from the period of Muslim occupation. You can see the impact in the Moorish architecture in present-day Andalusia in southern Spain.
Today, the Spanish language largely dominates Spain and South America, where the different dialects only add to the richness of the language. For many, the highlight of their Spanish studies may be reading the adventures of Don Quixote or the poems of Pablo Neruda in the original Spanish language – studying abroad is the perfect way to get there!